Welcome to the Nishma Insight Discussion Forum blog.

The NISHMA INSIGHT is our popular dvar Torah, distributed almost every week by e-mail, that touches upon an important concept in the Parsha, theme in a holiday or event in contemporary society.

Often, readers respond, via e-mail, with comments that initiate a further dialogue. Through this Discussion Forum, we now wish to open this dialogue to others. If you have a comment on the INSIGHT, we invite you place to your comments here; then we invite everyone to join the discussion.

(If you are not receiving the NISHMA INSIGHT, we invite you join our mailing/e-mail list through completing our sign-up form available at our website.)

Friday, March 9, 2018


For Vayahkel - Pekudei
Not yet available on the Nishma website

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Insight 5778-22: Purim

For Purim
Not yet available on the Nishma website

I just wish to clarify my point. The challenge we face in confronting the human condition demands depth as life is complex. A presentation of 'Stick figures' in attempting to explain the challenge human beings face in confronting the issue of good and evil -- and its internal conflict within each of us -- is, as such, misleading. What I am describing in the case of Haman, though, is the existence of the individual who strives to be but a 'stick figure' as this person wishes to avoid the actual complexity of the human condition. I am not using the 'stick figure' to describe the concept of good versus evil. What I am describing is the possible evil of an individual striving to be but only a 'stick figure. 

Friday, February 23, 2018

Insight 5778-21: FORMAL AND INFORMAL

For Tetzaveh
Not yet available on the Nishma website

Friday, February 9, 2018

Insight 5778-20: God and Ethics

For Mishpatim
Not yet available on the Nishma website

Friday, February 2, 2018

Insight 5778-19: THE NAME

For Yitro
Not yet available on the Nishma website

The idea that tefilla [prayer] should include a bekasha [request] also, in my opinion, reflects the thought expressed in the Insight. Many people find it difficult to accept that a prayer should include a request from God for they see it as approaching God because it is in one's best interest. They, as such, like to see prayer simply in terms of praising God or thanking Him. From a bekasha, though, one really sees God as instrumental in one's life and the fact that one can approach God in this manner obviously reflects close relationship. If someone is close to you, obviously, that person wants to assist you. As such, tefilla should incorporate shevach [praise], bekasha and hoda'ah [thankfulness] for it is in the meshing of these three that we reflect the uniqueness of our relationship with Him.

Friday, January 26, 2018


For Beshalach
Not yet available on the Nishma website

Friday, January 19, 2018


For Bo
Not yet available on the Nishma website

Friday, January 12, 2018


For Va'era
Not yet available on the Nishma website

Friday, January 5, 2018

Insight 5778-15: THE SERVANT OF GOD

For Shemot
Not yet available on the Nishma website

This understanding of the relationship between God and humanity is also significant in the discussion of the relationship between a rebbi [teacher] and talmid [student] or other designation of follower. There are those who wish to maintain that a student must always follow the position of a teacher; the latter's will must always be subservient to the will of the teacher. There are others, though, who maintain that the actual sign of a good rebbi is one who can raise a talmid to have a proper will of his/her own and thus is able to make decisions independent and even in conflict with the teacher. Independence of will is obviously the issue. While the independence of a prophet's will that the Insight argues must be an element of prophecy does not, of course, in any way imply a conflict with the Divine, in human terms such an expression of independence could result in a conflict between rebbi and talmid and so the existence of this particular issue in regard to the relationship of teacher and student. In regard to prophecy and, in fact, all aspects of the Divine-human connection, the existence of the Divine Will and the independent human will can, though, paradoxically co-exist. This is the very essence of Torah. This argument in regard to the rebbi-talmid relationship is simply a reflection that such co-existence must also paradoxically co-exist in this case. It is just more difficult in the human case.